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The Nacho Scene On Better Call Saul That Went Too Far

The creative team behind "Better Call Saul" has never been afraid to challenge their audience — or even their own characters — with shocking and sudden violence. In Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould's fictional Albuquerque, New Mexico, audiences meet few truly well-intentioned or purely "good" characters. Those who start out that way tend to get corrupted.

One such character is Nacho Varga (Michael Mando), who enters the "Breaking Bad" prequel series as a low-level Salamanca family enforcer who primarily works with Tuco (Raymond Cruz), offering the volatile character advice. As Nacho rises through the Salamanca crime family ranks, he grows worried that his increasing involvement in the drug trade could jeopardize his father's safety, so he plots to kill Hector Salamanca (Mark Margolis) to pre-empt any harm done to his family. When this attempt fails, Nachos falls into an even more dangerous position: Gus Fring (Giancarlo Esposito) blackmails Nacho into becoming his double agent, placing the career criminal dangerously between Fring's growing drug empire and his desire to wage war on the Salamancas.

One scene that helps cement Nacho's new loyalties in "Better Call Saul" Season 4 emphasizes that he may well lose his life trying to pull off this deception. Up until this point in the series, Nacho had never really come close to death in the Salamancas' employment. But in order to successfully deceive Nacho's employers, Fring's men put Nacho through intense physical pain.

Nacho is shot multiple times to seal his cover as Gus Fring's new double agent

In the Season 4 episode "Something Beautiful," Gus Fring's right-hand men Victor (Jeremiah Bitsui) and Tyrus (Ray Campbell) establish a fake shooting to cover Gus' murder of Nacho's colleague, Arturo (Vincent Fuentes). The pair take meticulous caution as they drive Arturo's car — with his corpse inside — into the country, spike its tires, pour bullet cases along the road, and shoot up the car to create what looks like an ambush. Victor instructs Nacho to get in the car's passenger seat and he then proceeds to shoots Nacho in his right shoulder to complete the cover-up.

As Nacho attempts to walk off the pain from his fresh gun wound, he asks Victor and Tyrus if he can call for help from the Salamancas. To Nacho's surprise, Victor shoots him again, this time in the stomach. This isn't to kill Nacho, though, as Tyrus tells him they had to "make it look real." However, a bullet in the stomach is a potentially fatal wound (not to mention an extremely painful one), and it leaves Nacho in an actual life-or-death scenario as he waits for help to arrive. Plenty of people get shot throughout the "Breaking Bad" universe, but seeing Nacho being so callously riddled with bullets by his own allies is tough to watch.

Nacho is the closest character "Better Call Saul" has to Jesse Pinkman from "Breaking Bad": a middle man in the drug trade who doesn't entirely seem like a bad guy but who gets drawn further down a black hole with no way out. Nacho's shooting raises the stakes for the character considerably. Not only does he have to survive being mortally wounded by the people he works for, but he also has to successfully deceive the Salamanca family about the incident.